ITBP to get 15 new battalions

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the force guarding the 3,488-km-long India-China border, is all set to get an addition of 18,000 men to its 55,000-odd workforce and a major strengthening of its border posts.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced on Friday that his ministry was considering a restructuring plan for the ITBP which included "15 new service battalions, three recruit training centres, a counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school, a high-altitude medical training centre and measures to strengthen border posts". "Added requirements for advanced communication systems, surveillance equipment, water craft, specialised vehicles and modern weaponry are also under consideration," the Home Minister said, speaking at the 48th Raising Day of the force.

ITBP's high-altitude medical training centre will be established at Leh and will impart specialised training to doctors and medical professionals. The force's counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school will be set up in Uttarkashi. The three recruit training centres will impart training to ITBP men in advanced weapons, motor transport and communication, respectively.

"In order to keep the morale, motivation and efficiency levels of the jawans high, the government has recently raised various monetary allowances due to CPMF personnel, including the hardship-based allowance. Further, proposals for special rations and better high-altitude clothing, on par with those provided to the defence forces, have also been approved," Chidambaram said.

He also said that the system of advances and withdrawals from the provident fund was a long-standing problem that the CPMF jawan faced. "Hence, a time limit of 26-30 days has been fixed and procedures streamlined so that unnecessary delays and obstacles are obliterated. Various bottlenecks in the process of procurement and acquisition of essential items have also been an impediment to the modernisation of the CPMFs. Therefore, the MHA has enhanced the delegation of financial powers to the DGs of the CPMFs," he said.

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